AG Cooper marks Columbine anniversary, urges schools to be crisis-ready
Release date: 4/19/2004
Raleigh: Attorney General Roy Cooper today encouraged local school superintendents to make sure all schools have completed their Critical Incident Response Kits and taken other steps to keep their schools safe.
“This Tuesday, April 20th, marks the fifth anniversary of the Columbine High School tragedy when thirteen people were killed in the worst school shooting in American history,” Cooper wrote to superintendents across North Carolina. “We hope and pray our state never has to experience another ‘Columbine.’ But we owe it to our students and faculty to be ready to prevent loss of life in the event it occurs.”
In his letter, Cooper asked superintendents to encourage schools to assemble and keep their Critical Incident Response Kit (CIRK) up-to-date and to continue to show the accompanying training video to faculty and staff. Cooper worked with Department of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Secretary George Sweat and the Department of Public Instruction to develop the kit. In 2002, officials at every public school in North Carolina received a videotape and a booklet that explains how to assemble the kit. Videotapes and booklets went to 778 private and charter schools across the state in July of 2003.
Close to 1,400 schools have completed specialized CIRK training sponsored by the Attorney General’s Office, the Justice Academy, the State Bureau of Investigation, the Center for the Prevention of School Violence, and Emergency Management.
Through a special recognition program, individual schools that have completed their kit and met the recommendations in the CIRK booklet and video receive a special certificate from Cooper and Sweat. These schools are also awarded a window decal that identifies them as ready to respond to a critical incident. All public schools in Avery, Cleveland, Craven, Harnett, Randolph-Asheboro, Rutherford, Union and Wake counties have put together their kits and met the other recommendations included in the CIRK booklet and video.
A completed kit includes items such as: architectural blueprints for the school; cut-off procedures for fire alarms, utilities, sprinkler systems, and cable television; keys to the school in a separately locked container; evacuation plans; and emergency contact information. Also included in the kit is a video, “What To Do in the First 20 Minutes,” which shows teachers, school administrators, and law enforcement responding appropriately to a dramatization of a school shooting incident.
For more information about the CIRK program including a link to a list of schools that have been recognized for completing their kits, visit www.ncdoj.com and click on “Protecting Children.”